After our various actions in September and October, we finally have made some headway at the bargaining table and have something to report to you. Please find below updates on the salary, gender and race equity, infosilem, our graduate and NTT proposals, academic freedom, safety, and binding arbitration.
On 21 September, we registered our dissatisfaction before President Barchi himself during and after his report to the University Senate. That activism finally shook loose, from the Administration, a counter-proposal on salary. The table below summarizes our position and theirs:
Our proposal (Years 1-4)
Across-the-board raises: $4000, 3.5%, 0%, 3.5%
Merit raises: 0, 0, 7%, 0
Cost-of-living adjustment: Rate of inflation
Equity corrections: For salary compression, women, and Camden and Newark campuses
Across-the-board raises: 1.5%, 0, 0, 0
Merit raises: 0, 2%, 2%, 1.5%
Cost-of-living adjustment: 0
Equity corrections: Individual reviews at best
The raises proposed by management is much below the current inflation and the cost of living raises that we are asking for. There is still quite a lot of distance between the two sides – all the more reason to get active (see our actions below)!
Race and gender equity
We had a successful information picket at Douglass campus involving dozens of faculty and grad employees. Governor Murphy sent us a statement of support. We proposed the hiring of historically underrepresented faculty, unconscious bias and other training for faculty, written promotion guidelines, and a fellowship program (known as “EOF+6”) to support PhD students from low-income backgrounds in New Jersey. The Administration initially rejected all these ideas, but they appear to have reconsidered that move. Indeed, as we are now finding through a small group process, they are engaging seriously and substantively with these proposals. Stay tuned.
The next software Leviathan is lumbering towards us. Many of you have expressed concerns about the lack of faculty control over our teaching schedule. We have proposed to bargain over this. We seek to protect faculty time for children, medical appointments, scientific experiments, and a host of other conditions of work and life. It is too early, however, to know how Infosilem may infringe upon these liberties. We are negotiating, therefore, around the timing of future negotiations and around the binding nature of whatever agreement we reach. When that time comes, we will insist upon the final authority of department chairs over course schedules. Infosilem – if it works at all – would best serve as a planning tool, allowing chairs to balance the interests of students and faculty more knowledgably than before.
Very little movement here. The Administration has offered grads the small raises above – all the more inadequate as grads have labored under fixed salaries for the last four years, with no raises. Management has ceded no ground on the five-year packages, enhanced fellowships and health insurance, or hardship funds. Away from the table, however, President Barchi did recently announce that doctoral students supported by fellowships, TAships, or GAships would no longer pay out-of-state tuition. That reform will help them to grads get hired as GAship, help the PIs raise grants to employ them, and protect grads from any revamp of the Republicans’ 2017 plan to tax tuition remission. We are still pushing, of course, all the way for zero tuition for PhD students.
Non-tenure track faculty
This is the brightest spot in the constellation so far. While the Administration did reject our “teaching tenure” proposal out of hand, they have agreed to significant improvements in the grievance procedure for faculty who are not reappointed. Moreover, we are about to start discussions on the subject of “continuous contracts,” a form of “tenure light” that would protect faculty jobs against drops in funding or course enrolment.
No progress here. The Administration rejected our efforts to protect emails from surveillance and online courses from censorship. They insist that University policies do that job already – which they do not – but such policies are not enforceable. On these matters, members may only pursue grievances to “advisory arbitration.” The president of the University may and has overruled arbitrators. See the last item below.
Safety and locking classroom doors
Gun violence entered colleges in 2007 at Virginia Tech. Since then, Rutgers has boldly trained many of us against “active shooters.” As per the drill, teachers should protect students and themselves by locking their classroom doors. How many of you have ever taught in a classroom you could lock from the inside? We are pushing the Administration to install locks on all classrooms by April 2020. So far, they have refused to commit to any timetable. Second question: how much would you bet on them getting the job done? Here is an issue of the most basic safety for ourselves and 70,000 students. We insist that the Administration do the right and obvious thing.
As you can see, this issue is the gorilla in the room. Advisory arbitration makes parts of our contract unenforceable – as it has been for 48 years. This time, finally, we intend to do away with that provision and replace it with binding arbitration, as our sister unions throughout Rutgers enjoy. We must show the Administration that we will not accept empty promises. We cannot allow the President Barchi to act as judge and jury over our contract.
New tenure-track lines
No response yet from the Administration
Bridge fund for PIs between grants
In order to move the process along, please attend as many of these actions as possible:
October 31st: Information Picket at Vorhees Mall from 11-1:30pm hosted by English, History and the language departments in the Academic Building.
November 14th: Come to bargaining to Busch Campus Center, Rm. 122,